Disney Channel is a Canadian English-language Category B specialty channel owned by Corus Entertainment. First broadcasting on September 1, 2015, it is a localized version of the U.S. cable network Disney Channel, broadcasting live-action and animated programming aimed at children between the ages of 6 and 14.
The channel launched as part of a new licensing agreement between Corus and the Disney–ABC Television Group, which succeeded a previous program supply agreement between Disney and Family Channel (owned by DHX Media). Its launch marked the first time that a Disney Channel-branded television service has operated in Canada.
At the time of its launch in 1988, the English-language Category A hybrid premium/basic cable and satellite television channel Family, which is now owned by children's programming producer DHX Media and previously held by Astral Media up until its acquisition by Bell Canada in 2013, held Canadian rights to Disney Channel's programming library. As such, it operated licensed Canadian versions of Disney Channel's spinoff brands, Disney XD and Disney Junior (one of which operated as a multiplex channel of Family airing in English, with a separately-licensed service airing in French) as sister networks.
Launch and development (2015–2017)
On April 16, 2015, Corus Entertainment announced that it had reached a "landmark" agreement with the Disney–ABC Television Group to acquire long-term, Canadian multi-platform rights to Disney Channel's programming library; the cost and duration of the licensing deal were not disclosed. Corus also announced that it would launch a Canadian version of Disney Channel on September 1, 2015; the service consists of a linear television channel, along with TV Everywhere apps (Watch Disney Channel Canada), and video-on-demand services for television platforms. This marks Corus' second Disney/ABC-licensed service behind ABC Spark – a localized version of ABC Family.
Corus stated that it would transition "select Disney branded kids linear television offerings" to new properties under its ownership in the future; new Corus-run Disney Junior and Disney XD services launched on December 1, 2015. In the meantime, Disney Channel aired blocks featuring selected Disney Junior and XD programs. Before the Disney XD and Junior blocks ended on this channel and for the 2015–16 television season, DHX consequently re-branded its Disney XD and Junior networks as Family Chrgd and Family Jr. respectively, and began phasing out Disney programming from the two channels and Family; DHX's licensing agreement with Disney formally ended in January 2016.
Branding and licensing changes (2017–present)
On July 3, 2017, Disney Channel was given a partial rebranding to match most other Disney Channel networks in the world, with a new series of station IDs, on-screen graphics, etc.
Disney Channel originally operated as an "exempted" Category B service: as of new policies implemented in 2012, channels with less than 200,000 subscribers that would otherwise meet the definition of a Category B service are exempted from licensing by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. On September 1, 2017, the channel became a regularly licensed discretionary service.
Corus stated that Disney Channel was available in 10 million households on launch, with carriage across most major Canadian cable providers, IPTV providers Bell Fibe TV, Telus Optik TV, and SaskTel, and national satellite providers Bell TV and Shaw Direct.
Disney Channel primarily airs animated and live-action series from its United States counterpart, movies, and third-party content from other distributors. It also airs programs from Disney XD, interstitial programs such as Movie Surfers, a look at the latest movies from The Walt Disney Company, special previews of new shows, and, previously, shows from Disney Junior (the new channel launched in Canada on December 1, 2015, along with the new Disney XD network).
- Disney XD on Disney Channel – a Thursday evening (formerly weekend afternoon) programming block featuring programs from Disney XD; the block was put on hiatus after November 29, 2015 due to the launch of the new Corus-operated Disney XD channel. The Disney XD on Disney Channel block also airs occasionally on weekends to show special episodes such as the Lab Rats: Elite Force premiere episode. The block returned on November 3, 2016 after an 11-month hiatus and began airing on Thursday evenings from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST/PST. The block was put on hiatus again after May 25, 2017, but then returned on September 2, 2017 with Spider-Man, Milo Murphy's Law: Missing Milo, and Walk the Prank. Since then, the block now airs on Saturdays.
- Disney Junior on Disney Channel – a weekday programming block featuring programming from Disney Junior. The block was discontinued after December 18, 2015 due to the launch of the new Corus-operated Disney Junior channel. However, the 2-day special preview of the new Disney Junior show, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, premiered on January 21, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. EST across all English-language Disney channels in Canada as a simulcast and aired the preview on Disney Channel and Disney XD until January 22, 2017.
- Famalama DingDong – a four-day block with sister channels YTV and Teletoon (other Corus Kids channels aired different blocks). It showed the world premiere of Disney Channel's newest show Stuck in the Middle along with movies like Invisible Sister and new episodes of Girl Meets World on February 12, 2016. It was the last channel to air on February 15, 2016 after YTV and Teletoon.
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- ^ "Broadcasting Order CRTC 2012-689: New exemption order respecting certain programming undertakings that would otherwise be eligible to be operated as Category B services, and amendments to the Exemption order respecting certain third-language television undertakings". CRTC. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- ^ http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2017/2017-150.htm
- ^ "Disney XD". disneychannel.ca Buzz Blog. Corus Entertainment. November 1, 2015. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- ^ http://www.corusent.com/news/lab-rats-elite-force-a-spinoff-of-popular-comedy-series-lab-rats-and-might-med-premieres-wednesday-march-2-on-corus-entertainments-disney-xd/
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